Do you charge 150% Empty Homes Premium?

Hi All,

In light of the Council Tax reform I am just wondering how many Council's adopted the Empty Homes Premium at 150%? We at Cheshire West and Chester have and needless to say we have received a fair number of complaints. I have recently had one empty home owner who advised that he had been phoning other Local Authorities to see if they charged 150% and we were the exception!

Even if you are not charging the full 150% I would be interested to know what Council Tax you do charge for long term empty properties.


Cheshire West and Chester

Empty Homes Officer

Council tax - discounts, access to info etc

Here at Tameside in Greater Manchester, we too charge 150% and I am sure that a number of other Gtr Mcr LAs do the same.  Not sure where your resident has been phoning!
We havent received a huge number of complaints but the number of requests for 2nd Homes and sudden reoccupation have increased so going through these is a problem.  According to CTax the numbe of EH fell by a net figure of 400 as of 01 April 2013......biggest fall for a number of years!
Jim Davies
Tameside MBC

Yes introduced here as of 1st April and like Thameside the reaction has predictably been more declarations of 2nd homes, or occupancy.
Not got the same volume of reduction and I'm waiting for a further report from our CT manager to assess the overall impact.
By my own unofficial reckoning 149 in April is now 124 in June, in the Premium Charge category  
Hedley Steele
Housing Initiatives Officer

Sutton charges a 50% premium on domestic properties empty for more than 2 years.  So far it's been very useful at getting action from some landlords.  I've not received any complaints on this matter. 
Most complaints have been from people genuinely undertaking extensive repairs or refurbishments and are now having to pay Tax from day one, as Sutton opted to remove the 'A' exemption category.

In Oldham we charge 150% & got a lot of angry phone calls. But at least it got empty property owners talking to us and we could sell them our leasing scheme.

In York we charge the 150%. It has had little effect, only 1 complaint the owners just seem to have paid. I imagine Council Tax may have taken the majority of complaints

Council Tax wrote to owners of the Premium in March. This resulted in a few grumbles and a few reclassifications.
I wrote to the remainder (and newly arising) 2 weeks ago. 8 of them had never even heard of the Premium. Some grumbled that they never received the letter from CT in March. With these folk, I asked if they'd rceived their 2013/14 Council Tax bill. All said yes, but none had noticed the tax hike. I suggested they check their bills again.
One owner said that the Premium was small beer to him in the grand scale of things. He's owned a £1.5million property since 1969 and is waiting for the market to pick up so that he can cash in. It's been empty for 14 years. Bless.

Nick P-G
Reading BC

I can confirm Wolverhampton charges 150% on empty over 2 years, 100% on empty over 21 days and100% on furnished second homes.
Reduction in empty over 6 months figure of 134 since implimented in April 2013. £800k in New Homes Bonus if the figures hold up. Phones went into meldown for a couple of weeks after billing.
If applied to land banks it could solve the housing crisis.

Richard Long 

Yes 150%, on all properties over 2 years empty. This has reduced from around 350 to 200 as of this month.
Basingstoke & Deane BC

Here in Torridge we charge 150% Council tax on properties that have been be empty for more than 2 years.
Not sure if we've have many complaints!!

Sheffield City Council now charges 150% council tax on empties over 2 years. Owners are unhappy but I've noticed it having a positive effect on several owners getting moving with sales/refurbishment.

Neil Dunk

Cornwall Council charges 150% Council Tax premium on properties that have been empty for two years or longer.  The Exempt C is for one month only, so there are now three classifications relating to empty properties. 
This has led to a number of owners finally contacting Council Tax to inform them that their property has actually been occupied for a number of years, despite the fact that the Empty Homes Team has previously written to them asking them to confirm the status of their property.  On the plus side, it has resulted in a number of owners who have previously ignored our correspondence to engage with us.  It has generated interest in the financial schemes that we have available to assist people with bringing their properties back into use.

Here at North Herts DC we charge 150% on empties over 2 years.  Council Tax colleagues I think have had a few complaints from owners who have inherited retirement type properties which they are finding hard to sell due to the age restrictions.  We will  be getting regular reports from CT of empties being charged the premium and will focus our activites on these properties.

In Exeter, after two years of inoccupation, empty properties will be charged the Empty Homes Premium of 150% council tax. And in addition to this, the following changes were made to C/T as of April 2013:

  • Second homes are no longer subject to a 10% council tax discount.
  • Unfurnished empty properties are no longer subject to six month Council Tax exemption; instead they will only be exempt for two months.
  • Empty properties are charged a full council tax bill after being empty for two months.

We have not had a huge number of calls regarding the premium, my colleagues in Council Tax inform us that most owners were calling to check the new amount they had to pay, rather than complaining.

We also haven't seen an increase in the number of 2nd homes registered (in fact it has reduced slightly) but we haven't seen a reduction in properties empty for 2+ years either.

Yes similar to many here in Birmjngham 150 % over 2 years.100% otherwise .......what has been  interesting it has enable  agood reporting mechanism here to inform CTAX of any anomolies and potential fraudulent claims

Stratford-on-Avon District Council now charge 150% on properties empty over 2 years and we have also reduced the length of time properties attract a period of no charge on becoming unccupied and unfurnished from 6 months to 3 months, reverting to a full charge after this period.
Even some of the most elusive owners have been in contact with Council Tax to dispute the charge which is great news for us to follow up leads.
We also intend to follow up any properties suddenly becoming second homes as this is an obvious loophole.

In East Devon and Exeter they charge 150%.  We had one very unhappy customer in East Devon but otherwise have had very few complaints reach empty homes.  If there have been any others they must have gone to Council Tax.  We've yet to work out what effect (if any) this is having on empty figures.
Cheers Hilary

At Mansfield they charge 25% for first 6 months and then 100% afterwards. Second homes are now charged at 100%, structural repairs are charged at 75% for the first 12 months and then 100% afterwards.
I've received a few moans via owners whilst in conversations regarding their properties but not alot more than usual. I make a point in mentioning that some other Authorities charge alot more for their empties and this is possibly a course of action we may adopt at some point in harm in pushing your luck I say: sometimes you have to play the owners at their own game!
 I believe that Council Tax have taken the brunt of the unhappy customers.
One positive for Empty Homes is that it has brought the non-responsive owners out of the woodwork, who have previously failed to even respond never mind engage (no matter what action was applied previously). No official figures are available at present but i've noticed quite a few of the more longer term properties suddenly having work commenced or are now occupied.

Hi Ruth
In Luton we have adopted the 150% EHP, although it is only relevant for a small number of properties that happen to be empty and unfurnished, roughly only a quarter of all six months plus empty.
We have also removed any type of discount on empty/uninhabitable, although I am concerned that this will lead to non disclosure - "whats in it for them?!"
Hope this helps your defence
Luton Borough Council

Nuneaton and Bedworth charge 150% for empties over 2 years, 100% on empties after 3 months and 100% on second homes.
LTE dropped from 833 in March to 736 in July

Here at Harrogate we charge a premium of 125% for those empties vacant over 6 months,
Hope that helps,
Harrogate Borough Council
Empty Homes Officer

Durham County Council also charge 150% for properties empty over 2 years.  They also chagre 100% from the day the property becomes empyt.